88th Illinois State Amateur Championship July 17-19 • Bloomington Country Club (Bloomington)
Jordan Hahn claimed the 88th Illinois State Amateur Championship by one stroke at Bloomington Country Club
Day Three: Thursday, July 19
HAHN STAVES OFF FIELD TO CLAIM ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR TITLE
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Over the course of his golf career, Jordan Hahn has stood over tens of thousands of putts. He had never been more nervous for one than he was on the 18th green Thursday at Bloomington Country Club.
“That's probably the toughest one,” Hahn said of the six-foot bender standing between him and victory in the Illinois State Amateur Championship, one year after he lost a four-shot final-round lead en route to a runner-up finish. “That wasn't an easy putt.”
The Spring Grove native calmly rolled in the clincher to save par and finish the 72-hole championship at 3-under-par 277, one shot better than Bloomington's Rob Wuethrich.
Earlier in the day, it looked as if Hahn would not need dramatics at the last to emerge victorious. The University of Wisconsin rising senior entered the 36-hole final day with a three-stroke advantage and built his lead to six shots heading to the back nine of his fourth round. However, bogeys on Nos. 10, 15 and 17, combined with two birdies over the final five holes from Wuethrich, resulted in Hahn needing par on No. 18 to win the championship.
At 6-feet-8-inches tall, Hahn had previously utilized his prodigious length with driver off the tee to notch birdies on the 346-yard finisher in his first three rounds. Nursing a one-shot lead, Hahn changed course and teed off with a 4-iron, but his shot leaked into the trees right of the fairway. His punch-out settled just short of the green, leaving Hahn needing an up-and-down to clinch the title.
“I was on the fringe and the leave I gave was not good,” Hahn recalled. “I didn't want to leave it short of the hole, because I knew I had a downhill slider. Unfortunately, that's where I left it, but my caddie and buddy Pete Kuhl gave me a good read. I was just committed to that line and poured it in.”
Rob Wuethrich: -2 (67-72-69-70--278) and Charlie Nikitas: -1 (66-73-73-67--279)
Day Two: Wednesday, July 18
HAHN IN FAMILIAR SPOT, LEADS HALFWAY THROUGH STATE AM
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - July 19 is already a special day for Jordan Hahn. It can gain even more significance Thursday.
One year to the day after shooting a tournament-record 61 in the second round of the 2017 Illinois State Amateur Championship, Hahn will tee off for the 36-hole final day of the 2018 iteration at Bloomington Country Club with a three-stroke lead. The Spring Grove native shot a 2-under 68 on Wednesday and sits 5-under overall for the championship, three shots clear of Jordan Harre, Mike Henry and Trent Wallace.
Hahn entered the rain-shortened final day of the 2017 tournament with a four-shot advantage, but a 1-over 71 resulted in him finishing as runner up by one stroke to Patrick Flavin. The University of Wisconsin rising senior hopes to put last year's disappointment behind him.
“Obviously last year didn't end up the way I wanted to, but it was still a good learning experience,” Hahn said. “Tomorrow is going to be a long day. My main plan is just to stick to what I've been doing the last two days. I feel like I have a good strategy on the golf course. I'm just going to stick to that, have fun and whatever happens, I can't be too upset.”
BOGEY-FREE 66 EARNS NIKITAS FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT STATE AM
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - In the time since last year's Illinois State Amateur Championship, there was no forgetting who won the event for Charlie Nikitas. His Miami University teammate was there to remind him.
“I've been hearing a lot about [Patrick Flavin's] win last year for the past few months,” Nikitas said with a chuckle.
This year, it's Nikitas who is atop the leaderboard early, as the RedHawk rising sophomore opened the 88th State Am with a bogey-free 4-under 66 Tuesday at Bloomington Country Club. The Glenview native enters Wednesday's second round with a one-shot lead over a trio of others.
“I just drove it in the fairway, gave myself a lot of chances and tried to get myself out of trouble when I found it,” Nikitas said of his round. “That's how you keep a clean card and I did that.”
Starting off the 10th tee in the afternoon wave, Nikitas birdied three of his first four holes before getting to 4-under with another birdie on his 15th hole, the par-5 sixth. Despite not having seen the course before playing a Monday practice round, Nikitas feels that the narrow, par-70 6,624-yard track plays to his strengths of driving the ball consistently straight.
ILLINOIS' TOP GOLFERS SET TO VIE FOR STATE AMATEUR CROWN
LEMONT, Ill. - Bloomington Country Club welcomes the state's elite golfers yet again for the 88th Illinois State Amateur Championship, July 17-19. The 72-hole stroke-play championship, considered the premier amateur golf event in the state, will be contested over BCC's rolling meadows and mature tree-lined fairways for a record eighth time, with the winner hoisting the Louis L. Emmerson Trophy.
The entire 138-golfer field will play 18 holes on both Tuesday, July 17 and Wednesday, July 18 on the 6,624-yard, par-70 track. The low 35 and ties will advance to the 36-hole final day on Thursday, July 19. The low 20 and ties will earn exemptions into next year's championship.
The Illinois State Amateur Championship, conducted annually by the Chicago District Golf Association, was first played in 1931 at Quincy Country Club. Initially conducted at match play until 1963, the event is now a 72-hole stroke play competition contested over three days. It is widely considered the premier amateur golf event in the state. Since the Championship was first conducted at stroke play, 45 different golfers have hoisted the Louis L. Emmerson trophy, several of which are current or former members of the PGA Tour. Highwood native and Miami University golfer Patrick Flavin rallied on the final day to claim the 2017 title at Calumet Country Club.